Simple Ideas

Saturday Night's Alright...

Lifestyle & Culture | September 4, 2009

...for fighting.

But what about Friday? The way I see it, it just doesn't play. You go out and get the crap kicked out of you on Friday, you have blown the whole weekend. You win the fight, then what? Fight somebody bigger on Saturday? You see the problem. There is no positive arc available to the Friday night fighter.

I was up to my favorite pizza place on Friday. Four large biker guys are looming. Tats, ZZ Top beards, wallets with chains. One approaches the counter, ominously.

"1 slice of the hawiian goat cheese, please"

Oh them are fighting words.

"Just one swice?" the counterman asked in a language not unlike english.

"Yes, just the one."

The counter guy, he's brown like me, he's sizing up this 250 pound biker ordering one measly slice of goat cheese pizza and has to think that he, even at 130 pounds, he can take the guy. But it's Friday night.

I ordered one slice also, but I'd just had a couple dogs and half bottle of bubbles, or I'd had my usual two. I swear. Plus it's Friday night and I'm pretty sure no one's going to give me any grief for wussing out.

And I'm right. I eat my one piece of everything pizza in the shade of the not so scary biker guys. I had thought about getting a beer. I'd given it serious thought. But there were two guys in front of the biker guy. I'm pretty sure they were together, but they ordered separate. And the second guy, he orders two slices for there and two to go. I don't know who he's trying to fool. He's trying to show off, you know, about how much more of a pizza eater he is. He's trying to start something. But not really, because it's Friday night and so we both know better. I eyeball him back into place and he slithers over to his pal, who paid separate to keep up the subterfuge. But I was on to them and their pizza eating ways. No way was I going drink with people like that on any night. I don't order a beer.

Instead I scarf down my pizza and make the long commute to the corner pub. It was two doors down and the place was lousy with people not fighting. There were two booths full of kiddies sipping ales and gently discussing the merits of various Elton John songs on the jukebox.

The bartender is possibly the usual Friday night guy, but I'm never there on Friday, so I don't know. He's only halfway to a ZZ Top beard, but I can tell he is earnest. He may make the bigs one day.

Selecting a beer is the biggest challange I'll face. At the pizza place they have a glass counter and a pointing option, so if I can point to it, I can order it without advance knowledge of the island the goats roamed before becoming pizza toppings. But here the lighting is about as bad a confessional booth and only about half the beer manufacturers get the idea that they really need a distinctive tap handle if they want a dodering old geezer to be able to puzzle out just what is in their kegs. None of my regular faves are in sight and so I end up trying a golden belgian ale called Pranqster, perhaps. That was also on tap at the pizza place, but as mentioned I didn't care for the crowd there at all. So I get the same beer here. 'Here' is a dive bar where, on any given night, you may see a patron's bulldog drinking out of a mug that you get you beer in. This place doesn't only get you toasted, it builds up your immune system.

I'm drinking my ale and watching the Tulane-Tulsa Game. Tulane is getting pounded, 23 to 3. But as soon as I sit down they find their fight and push it in for a quick score. 23 to 10 in the third. Maybe this is where thescrap is going to be, I think. Tulsa gets the ball andTulane holds well on 1st and second down, you can see the energy coursing through the green wave or whatever they are. I'm trying to figure where they are from? The southeast? Near Bowling Green? The midwest? Some rustbelt state in need of a shot in the arm? They really had 'terminal underdog on the verge' writ large on their backs.

Then the Tulsa QB scrambles for a first down. There is no stopping the Tulsonians after this. They march down to the 2 yard line. And sure enough as the Tulsa halfback is diving for the endzone, he gets popped, coughs it up and Tulane recovers! Oh, this is football. The guy next to me, he has only a 1/4 length ZZ top beard, but he's cheering on every play regardless of who has the ball. He is certain that this is the essence of the sport, no steriods, no BS, just a pure love of the game. Hethen he burps and slurs something that I don't quite get.

Tulane is rolling up the field and then trouble. It's third and 7 and the rocket scientist of a coach ponders a clutch call. Ponders too long and it's a delay of game. Now its third and 12. Everyone and the bulldog knows they have to pass. They line up in a shotgun. Tulsa appears to be in a prevent, but they send a safety on a delayed rush. I rarely use the word brilliant to describe anything that comes out of Tulsa, but this was the perfect call and the perfect execution. QB was drilled for an 8 yeard loss. 4th and 20. They go to commercial and I see the "live from new orleans" banner.

Oh this is the end now. Tulane is from New Orleans. Puzzle unpuzzled. They are doomed. While on break the guy next to me slurs "Don't drink pliny the elder, it gets you really drunk. Or wait, I mean drink pliney the elder, it's great!" he slides off the bar stools and the heads to the door with his quarter bearded friend. I let out a small sigh as I now have elbow room on both sides of me. But I know whats coming next.

High booming punt. Tulsa returner grabs it on the fly and never breaks stride as he runs it into the endzone. 30 to 10, now late in the third. Tulane is crushed. I down my beer and exit.

Outside are the four biker guys from the pizza place. They are milling about thier Vespa scooters trying to figure if they should sober up before riding home.

Because you know, tomorrow's Saturday. And it's gonna be alright.


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